Honorary Stanford captain Condoleezza Rice walks to the middle of the field for the coin toss before their game against at Stanford Stadium on Nov. 28, 2009 in Palo Alto, Calif.
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Condoleezza Rice for NFL commissioner?


This was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In light of the scandals plaguing the league, few people at this point would likely call his position a “dream job.” Just so happens, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has long been on the record saying that very thing.

Now, many — from Hollywood actor Rob Lowe to Arizona Sen. John McCain — are looking at Rice to rescue the main organization behind America’s beloved pastime. It is widely known that the former top official for the George W. Bush administration has a deep affinity for football and that she described serving as NFL commissioner as a dream job.

”That’s absolutely right,” she told Mike Freeman of The New York TImes in a 2002 interview, ”though not immediately and not before Paul Tagliabue is ready to step down.”

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Tagliabue, who previously served as the NFL’s lawyer, held the commissioner title from 1989 to 2006, before the now-embattled Roger Goodell took over. Prior to becoming the boss of a multi-billion dollar league, Goodell started his NFL career as an intern in 1982 and worked his way to the top through various public relations and business development positions. Goodell won the majority of votes from NFL owners after Tagliabue decided to retire, and he was considered a shoo-in for the job at the time.

Goodell is now at the head of a league that seems to grow more problem-riddled by the day. He has faced growing criticism over his handling of a domestic violence incident from February between former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancée Janay Palmer that took place in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino. Goodell is facing more calls to resign after Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson was charged with injury to a child on Friday and subsequently turned himself in to police.  In light of those recent events, pressure is mounting to correct the league and it’s leadership. 

“Condoleezza Rice would be a good person for [Goodell] to call and have a discussion with him. I think she can help him,” Arizona Sen. John McCain told TMZ

As the former provost of Stanford University, Rice’s responsibilities included overseeing the athletic operations and issues such as budgeting and hiring of the football coach. Coupled with her security expertise and knowledge of the sport, pressure for Rice to save the league may continue. 

”I find the strategy and tactics absolutely fascinating,” she explained to Freeman. “I find the evolution of the game really interesting. Again, as it relates to military history. Military history has swung back and forth between advantage to the offense and advantage to the defense. When the offense has the advantage, then a new technology will come along that will temporarily give the defense the advantage and vice versa. Football has that kind of pattern, too.”